No one wants their resume to go directly into the “No!” pile when applying for advertised job openings. So, what does your resume need to have to make it into the “Yes!” stack?
The following are seven tips to keep your resume “out of the trash.”
1. Apply for advertised jobs that you are qualified to do.
Job boards such as Indeed.com and Christian-based job boards like the ChristianCareerCenter.com and ChurchJobsOnline.com make it very easy to upload your resume and apply for job openings with one click. Many job hunters make the mistake of thinking the more jobs they apply for, the better their chances. The reality is you will end up not only wasting your time but also the time of employers and recruiters. A much better strategy is to focus only on the jobs for which you are qualified and then submit tailored resumes and cover letters for those jobs. We'll look more at this strategy below.
2. Include an Objective or Branding Statement
“But I thought objectives were outdated. I was told not to use them!” you may be thinking. You definitely want to avoid the old format for objectives that primarily described what the job seeker wanted such as “Seeking a well-paying job with great benefits where I can grow and develop professionally.” A self-focused objective will expedite your resume’s path to the trash.
Your resume objective or branding statement is a short, targeted statement that tells the employer that you are focused and it makes sense for them to take time to look at the rest of your resume and set up an interview with you. The objective can be as simple as the title of the job for which you are applying, such as “Sales Manager” or a branding statement such as “Top Ranked Regional Sales Manager.” A branding statement can be centered at the top of your resume under your contact information.
3. More Is Not Better
Before even reading the whole resume, the appearance and structure of your resume creates a first impression. You may be tempted to list all of your jobs, accomplishments and volunteer experiences in your resume thinking the more information, the better. However, in a resume, more information—particularly information not related to the job opening—can make it more difficult for the search committee to see your qualifications and experience that really matters. Ideally, your resume should be no longer than two pages. Though it should be concise, it must also be descriptive, free from spelling and grammatical errors as well as distracting or unusual fonts and formats.
4. Customize Your Resume for the Position
Many employers will receive more than 100 resumes for a posted opening. Studies show that resumes only receive 6-30 seconds of time from an employer. These days many resumes initially are not seen by a human eye, but are reviewed by an ATS (Applicant Tracking Software) that scans for key words to determine if your resume goes on to the next step to be reviewed by a hiring team or goes into the “No” pile. Even if your resume is not scanned by an ATS system, you want to tailor your resume for the skills, knowledge and experience that are in the job description. Customizing your resume for each job to which you apply is critical for showcasing how you can meet an employer’s needs.
5. Highlight Your Personal Skills
Many applicants for an advertised job will have the needed experience and education. Beyond the basic qualifications, however, employers are interested in knowing who you are as a person. You can help them get to know you by highlighting personal skills that describe your personality such as hardworking, diligent, organized, creative, friendly, energic, persistent, analytical, self-motivated, insightful, caring, patient, ambitious, persuasive, resilient, team-oriented, conscientious, accurate and others. Employers realized that these are skills they don’t have time to teach even if this was possible. You can stand out from other candidates by providing examples of your personal skills within your resume and during the interview. While other candidates may have similar experiences and abilities, they will not have the same combination of personal skills.
6. Include Prove-it Statements
Proving your skills means that you give examples of how you have successfully used key skills in the past, and demonstrate how your past experience will transfer to the job opening. Studies have found that a major reason for extended unemployment is that 80% of job applicants cannot prove their top ten skills to a prospective employer. In other words, they cannot communicate effectively that they can do the job! Your “prove it” statements in your resume will provide evidence through specific examples that prove you can do the job. Here are two examples:
- Initiated a new training program for service technicians that increased their productivity by 33% and saved the company approximately $300,000 in non-recoverable labor expense.
- Wrote lesson plans and developed a parent participation strategy that resulted in a 79% success rate in a reading program for at-risk children.
Each of these examples starts with a transferable skill (Initiated, Wrote). Next the job seeker describes how they used the skills. And finally, they describe objective results that were achieved. Please note that many times you will not be able to write skill statements with objectified results. However, there will be a few skill statements where you can describe results even if you need to use descriptions such as “more than” or “approximately” to honesty describe a result.
7. Hire a career counselor to help create a resume that gets results
If you don’t know what your resume should target or you get stuck writing your resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile or other marketing tools, reach out to a certified professional career counselor for assistance. Getting help from a faith-based career counselor at the ChristianCareerCenter.com can save you a lot of time, headaches and money. You can learn more and schedule a career services consultation.
Following these seven tips will help you develop a resume that showcases how you can meet an employer’s needs. You can learn more about writing a successful resume by reading the article, 14 Keys to Writing a Winning Resume for Church Jobs and Ministry Openings.
© Article copyright by Kevin and Kay Marie Brennfleck, www.ChurchJobsOnline.com, www.ChristianCareerCenter.com. All rights reserved. The above information is intended for personal use only. No commercial use of this information is authorized without written permission.
Kevin Brennfleck and Kay Marie Brennfleck are the authors of Live Your Calling: A Practical Guide to Finding and Fulfilling Your Mission in Life. As National Certified Career Counselors and Life Calling Coaches, they are recognized experts in helping people identify their giftedness and find their calling in work and life. If you are interested in career coaching and testing to discover work that fits your God-given design; or would like assistance with writing a powerful resume, interviewing effectively, finding job openings, or other aspects of a successful job search, you can schedule a free consultation session at www.ChristianCareerCenter.com.